Anyone who doubts the power of networking doesn’t know the story of Roark (Rocky) Young, president and CEO, Young Stovall, and Nina Nikolic (BBA ’10).
Young serves on the advisory board of the Student Management Investment Fund through which students in the College of Business Administration present recommendations for actual stock purchases. Board members challenge them to defend their choices. Helen Simon, director, Capital Markets Lab, makes the purchases.
Prior to the presentations, networking takes place, and that’s where Young and Nikolic first connected.
“She introduced herself to me and I was impressed by her poise and sophistication, which were confirmed when she presented,” Young said. “Of course, those social skills, while very important, must be backed up by knowledge, which she also displayed. Every presentation has been well constructed and all the students have been excellent, but she stood out and I could see how she would fit well in our firm.”
He urged her to get in touch after she graduated, but Nikolic didn’t wait.
“I always do everything ahead of time,” she said.
Bottom line for Nikolic: she is now in training at Young Stovall, and after passing the Series 7 examination, will be able to undertake client interaction.
“I sometimes wonder who is the teacher because she is teaching us new ways of doing things,” Young said, while for her part, Nikolic, who is Serbian and attended a private college in Cyprus before transferring to Florida International University (FIU) two-and-a-half-years ago, appreciates the background her studies provided.
“Everything I learned in the college I am applying here, taking the theories and applying them to real life,” she said.
Networking brought Young to the board.
Not only did Young meet Nikolic via networking, but also a relationship with William W. Welch, retired chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate, led him to the board.
“I took a course with him more than 30 years ago, and was in business with him for a while,” Young said. “I appreciated when he offered me the opportunity to give back to the community and see what students are learning.”